Sunday, January 15, 2006

Shemittah in Gush Katif - Anita Tucker


I just came back from the Beit Orot Dinner and had the priviledge of listening to Anita Tucker. I was very moved when Anita told her personal story of being expelled. She described 15 soldiers, dressed in gray, intimidating, coming to her home in Netzer Chazani. The Tuckers were prepared with a very long table, with their beautiful table cloth and good dishes etc. Her daughter invited these soldiers into the house. The family sat the soldiers down and Anita proceeded to describe how she and her family came to Gush Katif. She mentioned that they were sent there by the government and they were encouraged to actively engage in an agricultural enterprise. They were greeted in a friendly manner by their Arab neighbor leaders who let them know of their hope that the settlers would consider them for employment in the future. When the Arab neighbors were told of their intention to actually grow something in the sand the Arabs were surprised because they said the land was cursed and nothing grew. The place was called by the Arabs El Gerara (Based on the Biblical times when Avraham and Yitzchok settled in Gerar).

After her talk I went over to Anita Tucker (who was a farmer in Gush Katif) and asked her "What did the farmers do during the Shemittah years". She told me that they wanted to take a Sabbatical but the Badatz convinced them to rely on Kulos (What I understood was that they imported sand and put layers of plastic on the earth and the produce was grown with this alternative earth. There were other kulos as well). The reason the Badatz (Hashgacha, I understood) convinced them to rely on these kulos because they did not want to deal with the Arabs and would rather deal with the Jews and felt the Arabs would take over because the Badatz would have to depend on them for produce.

Well the Arabs did take least in Gush Katif.

My question is "Why couldn't things remain fallow in Gush Katif during Shemittah and Badatz organize lots of field trips to all the different farms rather than go to the Arabs? It would have been a blast!"

I don't know who is behind the Badatz but I wonder how they felt about the disengagement...

Anita also spoke about these 15 soldiers who listened stone face to her story. They were trained well to hide their emotions. When she saw there was no reaction, she began to cry bitterly for G-d to send her some sign that The State of Israel actually meant something to these men. Her daughter heard her cry and proceeded to show one of the soldiers her parents bedroom. Her daughter locked the soldier in with her Mother so that there would be privacy and told him to personally tell her mother how he felt. Anita said, the soldier cried. Anita was comforted that somehow her words did actually penetrate a fellow Jew. Her daughter did this for the remaining 14 soldiers. Each one of them cried individually, privately. The commander, last one retained however his mask and continued to reiterate that at 12:00 they would be asked to leave. At that point Anita ran from the bedroom locking him in by himself. The family walked out on their own surrounding by these men. Her husband remembered that he forgot Tallis and Tefillin. He went back and there he found that last commander crying. He was another fellow Jew touched by the tragedy. Anita felt G-d was sending her a message and it gave her faith and hope that once again the State of Israel will find its soul that is buried very deep in the hearts of it's Soldiers and will once again reclaim the Land.

If you have read my blog you will see that I am promoting an independant authority. The Lubavitch Rebbe in a letter to Geula Cohen in 1969 says not to call it a State of Israel since it would be too defining. So call it an authority based on Torah and Mitzvoth. I too believe like Anita Tucker in the soul of each and every Jew and their yearning for what's right and good and not what's evil will in the end prevail. I too do not wish them to be cut off. Yet, If we attempt a revolutionary concept on a broad scale, it will be too difficult to work out the details and iron out the kinks. I therefore promote a small scale Torah based enterprise that would allow such a ruling authority a chance to experiement, succeed and to expand at a pace that is not detrimental.

Any feedback to these ideas are most welcome.

Shavua Tov!
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